Council to weigh in on voucher program, charter authorizer

Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:05pm

The Metro Council will consider a resolution “opposing all state legislation” that would create a state voucher program or a state charter authorizer without state funds being granted to local school districts to cover the costs of such programs.

The non-binding memorializing resolution, sponsored by Councilman Steve Glover, would have no legislative effect, but will serve as a chance for the council to weigh in on two issues that appear to be quickly heading down the tracks of the state legislature. The council is scheduled to take up the resolution at its Jan. 8 meeting.

The resolution, which can be found here, notes that “all of the urban school systems in Tennessee have gone on record opposing the use of school vouchers” and states that “there is a lack of empirical data supporting the assertion that school vouchers improve student performance.” It also argues that the passage of such legislation would create an “unfunded mandate” for local school districts.

“WHEREAS, vouchers and state-authorized charter schools would essentially operate as an unfunded mandate for local public school systems since the removal of a few students from a school would likely not reduce the number of required teachers and would not reduce the capital costs associated with the school, yet the public school system would lose funding to cover these costs,” a portion of the resolution reads.

“[A]nd WHEREAS, another property tax increase would likely be required in order to adequately fund Metro Nashville Public Schools and meet the state maintenance of effort funding requirements if a voucher program or state charter school authorizer is created.”

School vouchers — often called “opportunity scholarships” by supporters — use tax dollars to pay for certain students’ tuition at a private or religious schools. Critics, and the council’s proposed resolution, oppose them on the basis that such a program would divert money from public schools.

Gov. Bill Haslam has said his administration is not yet sure whether they will propose a voucher program of their own or wait to consider proposals from the legislature. The Haslam-appointed Opportunity Scholarship Task Force recommended in a report to the governor earlier this month that any such program in Tennessee should offer vouchers to low-income families.

State charter authorities exist already in other states and the idea has come to the fore in Tennessee in the wake of the fight between the state and the city over Great Hearts Academies’ attempted entry into the Metro school district.

Currently, the authority to approve or deny charter school applications rests with the elected Metro school board. Legislation creating a statewide charter authorizer would give that power to state officials.

28 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 12/28/12 at 8:42

Curious, there was no mention in the resolution of what is best for the kids, just the unfairness of losing the money the kids bring with them. Looks like the wardens are worried about losing the inmates.

Sad when the local boards see dollar signs instead of children. Luckily we have the rest of the state to do the right thing for our kids when our urban political machines will not or cannot.

Imagine the stink if the state lawmakers were passing bills requiring inner-city youths to stay in their rotting Metro and Memphis schools in hopes they will get better in 10 years. But then again, our own local school boards have been doing that for decades and no one thinks anything of it. Ultimately, being able to put your kids in a good school is a right for only the rich, here in Nashville poor kids are owned by MNPS and MNEA and there is nothing well meaning state officials can do to free or help them.

The battle cry of the urban school district? "Keep sending us money and stay out of our business!"

By: thereitis on 12/28/12 at 9:17

True JeffF, true!

I understand that scoring a 21 or higher on the ACT means a student is ready to enroll in college without remediation. A Power Point on DOEs website notes that about 20% of graduating high school students are college ready. Throw in those that do not graduate and how many of our 18-year olds are ready for college? I would guess maybe one out of six or so?

And the answer is to keep doing what they are doing. Another way of looking at this, after thirteen years of public education over 80% of 18-year olds are not ready to attend college but require remediation.

By all means, oppose any and all change. We need to keep this kind of track record on path.

By: CPUsername on 12/28/12 at 10:26

While I agree that there should be more choice available to kids in MNPS (I have two kids in MNPS schools), I reject the assertion that a state entity would do a better job of deciding what those additional opportunities might be. Such an entity would be able to force school districts to pay for charter schools or vouchers, but the state entity would not be responsible for resulting failures. Authorizing such an entity would be separating authority from accountability which is never a good idea.

By: CPUsername on 12/28/12 at 10:27

While I agree that there should be more choice available to kids in MNPS (I have two kids in MNPS schools), I reject the assertion that a state entity would do a better job of deciding what those additional opportunities might be. Such an entity would be able to force school districts to pay for charter schools or vouchers, but the state entity would not be responsible for resulting failures. Authorizing such an entity would be separating authority from accountability which is never a good idea.

By: jonw on 12/28/12 at 10:55

“WHEREAS, vouchers and state-authorized charter schools would essentially operate as an unfunded mandate for local public school systems since the removal of a few students from a school would likely not reduce the number of required teachers and would not reduce the capital costs associated with the school, - - -
Wonder why this doesn't apply in reverse - - a few extra kids would not increase the number of required teachers - - (You get my drift) '

By: JeffF on 12/28/12 at 12:56

CPUsername, the state could have done this (or tied anyway) several years ago, but the schoolboards themselves were put in charge of making the decisions (yes the people with the decades long record of failure). Their shirking and rejecting of EVERY applicant has made it painfully obvious that the status quo is more their goal going forward. I do not like the state doing it either, but it sure looks like they are the only ones that will.

Jon, one has to wonder why the loss of students will not reduce the number of teachers. Is it a desire to continue the use of poor planning (location and size of schools) or is it a collective bargaining thing that prevents the dismissal of unnecessary teaching staff?

I think they are vastly underestimating the number of parents that will jump on vouchers if they think only a couple of kids will leave THEIR schools. There are a lot more of them then there are of the religion-hating hipsters worried a religious school will receive some money from somewhere. Gaia forbid if a kid gets into college AND believes in a higher power. Better to have them go to a metro school where neither happens?

By: JeffF on 12/28/12 at 12:58

Jon, one more thing, one has to wonder about their goals if the schools automatically assume they cannot compete for more students and their money? Aim high MNPS, aim high. Isn't that one of the things you crow about to the life's lottery winners at Hume Fogg and the one other decent high school in Metro.

By: pswindle on 12/28/12 at 2:40

The biggest fight of the century will happen when students are chosen over other students for this voucher program. Metro had better stay out of this fight. If a child is not learning in school, changing schools will not change that.

By: ancienthighway on 12/28/12 at 3:59

JeffF said, "Sad when the local boards see dollar signs instead of children."

The dollar signs are what charter and private schools are all about. At the end of the day, their management and owners look at profit, not how many children went to college.

The dollar signs are what vouchers are all about. Even if vouchers are initially limited to qualifying low income families, it will expand eventually to include all. And don't for a second think that middle and high income families wouldn't jump on the bandwagon to save them dollar signs to send their children to elite schools.

Yes, public schools are concerned about the dollar signs, too. Public schools are already under funded and have been for years. If, as an example, 10% of the student body of a school, spread over the class grades leave the school due to the voucher program, it may trickle down to a couple of students in each classroom that leave. Two or three out of 20 or 30 students in the class. Do you really cut one or two teachers then and increase the class size for the remaining teachers? Do you force the union out of the schools so you can cut already low pay for teachers?

The bottom line is it's all about dollar signs for campaign reelection. Public schools don't make campaign contributions, but private companies running charter and private schools can. If politicians don't support charter schools, they lose what contributions they do get now and what they may receive in the future. Vouchers are nothing more than private industry welfare for the business owners. If they can't survive without vouchers, they shouldn't be in the business.

By: paladinwar on 12/28/12 at 4:14

If I am not mistaken, the state grants that everyone has the right to an education.

The state is vested with the power and responsibility to ensure that every child who desires an education receives such. If the districts fail to do so, then the citizens of the state have a grievance with the state. The responsibility and accountability is still the state's. If the state creates a statewide authorizer and schools are approved by this entity then this entity will be accountable for their success or failure and unlike with school districts, if the school fails then it can be closed based on performance, if the school succeed and students do well then it will continue to exist based on performance. Students deserve a good quality safe education! If the districts fail to provide that then they do not have a right to the funds and furthermore, the State has a responsibility to its citizens.

The article strangely notes that other states have state authorizers, but it does not note the level of success that has been achieved by the use of this mechanism. Of course not...such an admission does not support the articles argument. I do not give blanket support for vouchers - they come is different shapes and sizes and the wording of the legislation will dictate my decision on support one way or the other. However, the issue of charters is a much more clear question for me and for any other parent who is waiting and hopeful that public education will figure out how to meet the challenge of 21st century education; until they figure it out I should have a public choice for my children that is not dictated or limited by my zip code or my w-2.

Charters ARE PUBLIC SCHOOLS and thus ARE public choice and clearly more charters will not happen quickly for TN without a third party authorizer. We cant leave it up to the districts 'cause no fox is willing to let another fox into the hen house unless he is sure that fox cannot hunt, bite, or fight for a single chicken...especially when the chicks are scarce and they are worried about losing "a few students".

I am tired of watching children marched onto reservations full of persistent failure called schools and fed rancid and spoiled education meal after meal, day after day, and then be told I am still required to pay for it because I have no other choice while I watch each child's future waste away with every foul meal while we are told good food is on the way - one day. Fix education, but in the mean time our kids need to eat! And I don't care if it is non-profits or for-profits, as long as it is good, wholesome, law abiding, free, safe, open to all (public), and most importantly producing quality educational outcomes.

By: JeffF on 12/28/12 at 4:19

For the life of me I still cannot name a single for-profit private school in the Nashville area. Maybe you can enlighten us on how many of the religious schools in the area are secret bastions of naked capitalism and obscene profit.

If indeed the public schools are underfunded than logic would lead one to assume that the schools with the highest per-pupil funding rates would be the most successful. Sadly, against all reason, MNPS and Memphis public schools are ahead of almost 100% of all school systems in public funding and teacher salaries. No wonder they are so defensive about the status quo, a change could mean funding would be based on results instead whatever it is based on now.

If there are no for-profit private schools, and if the public schools are being funded at levels higher than their results would indicates, that tells me the evil profiteers are working the public school angle, not the alternative.

I think the last election dismissed the idea that money buys elections. What wins elections is the marginalization of the people with money by stoking the fires of envy. The suckers of this nation are the people paying into a system controlled by the people not paying in. The "Where's mine?" people are a large bloc of voters and the "Here it is take it from them over there" are more than happy to oblige.

For the life of me I just do not understand how the folks here in Nashville and in Memphis are so afraid of the people out in the sticks. The folks in the sticks are the ones running successful schools while we protect our dump fire with zeal. Take out Memphis and Nashville schools and Tennessee sits in the top 20, yet we talk to them like failing schools are their problem, not ours. Maybe the state needs to let us alone with our overpriced and crappy schools and eventually we will have our own prison cities just like in the Kurt Russell movies. The state would only need to hire guards to keep us from escaping the urban utopias we fought so hard to create. At least we will have adults educated to the level it takes to work the hospitality and meetings jobs we "invest" so heavily in.

By: ancienthighway on 12/28/12 at 4:38

thereitis:

When I graduated high school 40 years ago college education was not considered essential to have a successful work career. Many high school graduates entered trade schools or apprenticeships to learn a trade, and were highly successful in their field. I believe that is still the case. Not every child is cut out for university level studies. Of course that doesn't stop the colleges from wooing high school sport standouts that don't qualify academically. After all college sports is big business. Tennessee college graduates rates trails the national average by a couple percentage points, but then that average isn't all that great. Only D.C. has a rate close to 70%, and only two states have over 50%

According to the DoE website, Tennessee had a high school graduation rate of 89% in the 2009-2010 school year. It was tied for the 8th highest of the 50 states and Washington D.C. While reading and math proficiency could be better, they are not out of line with the national average.

I question whether we should be preparing all of our children for college or even encouraging those that have no desire for a college education to attend college. Yes, we should give all the opportunity, but in the end it shouldn't be the goal.

By: JeffF on 12/28/12 at 5:46

So the plan for Metro schools is to keep the good kids penned with the bad...so they do not go to college...because not all kids should be going to college?

By: ChrisMoth on 12/29/12 at 8:48

JeffF: Actually, the resolution IS rooted in what is best for kids. Read ,"WHEREAS, there is a lack of empirical data supporting the assertion that school vouchers improve student performance;..."

I'm not sure what you mean by "good" kids and "bad" kids... But, certainly Tennessee has an obligation to try to educate all children with public funds.

Nashville's local Board has already opened a number of Charter Schools. We can, and should, question whether the score success of these schools is sustainable, and whether the score improvements stem from choice (academic segregation) alone. But, we cannot question the fact that Nashville's charter schools outperform charter schools nationally. National data (google Credo and Mathematica studies) show Charters doing zero to improve outcomes for affluent students, and barely statistically significant improvements for poor students. We _must_ therefore conclude that our local board is doing a MUCH better job of opening and closing charters than Boards elsewhere - and thus - there is no reason to hand over Charter authorization control to the state.

Finally, many in this argument, like JeffF, are calling for classroom homogenization That is tricky because the criteria for homogenization are unclear. Are kids with parent incomes of $80K to $150K a homogenous group? Or, should $120K to $190K be the cutoff? Or, is this done solely on test scores (which correlate closely to affluence anyway) - around which the question of whether proficient or advanced is the right entry barrier.

Most importantly, we already know how to homogenize classrooms academically.
We do it at Meigs and Hume Fogg. We don't need to state telling us how to do it. We know parents love that homogenization, even though we also know our students achieve just as well at zoned schools where programs exist to offer increased academic challenge. If the State wanted this, wouldn't we be better served for them to mandate that MNPS proceeds more quickly with plans to offer academic strength across zoned schools?

It is absolutely the case that Special Ed, ELL, and impoverished kids can benefit from services layered on top of mainstream offerings. But, outright segregation of student populations, historically, has led to "good"-labelled kids getting far more resources than "bad"-labelled ones - and that has been terrible for our society. Additional services can be offered in the same buildings as mainstream services. There is no educational reason why struggling kids must to be sent to different buildings, fundamentally.

So, instead of turning Nashville into a city that only offers "lottery tickets to Charters" to its residents, shouldn't Tennessee first ensure that a sustained commitment to challenging academics exists in our nearby zoned schools?

How is clogging the streets with folks running from each other a solution to any of the challenges in education? That's what they do in Phoenix Arizona - with 35 semi-independent districts. Scores acorss Arizona are MUCH lower than in Tennessee. Their model is no solution to our challenges.

Happy New Year. 2013 is going to be a great year with some very interesting discussion, indeed! I look forward to learning a great deal about education reform..

By: jonescry on 12/29/12 at 10:34

I am frequently floored by how many handouts conservatives want from the rest of us. If you want your child to go to a private school you are responsible for paying for it. Not us. Can't afford private school? Then get a better job or forgo needless expenditures.This is called personal responsibility. Learn about it.

By: pipecarver on 12/30/12 at 8:30

Wow, look how quickly our elected officials can draw up legislation to deal with something they are pissed off about. Too bad the band-o-idiocricy lacks the same initiative to solve the REAL PROBLEMS affecting THE MAJORITY OF US.

By: ancienthighway on 12/30/12 at 12:41

I doubt the legislature came up with this proposal on their own. It wouldn't surprise me if it can be traced back to an ultra conservative "think tank" which then pushes the same drafts down to every republican dominated state legislature. The wealthy bought their governments, now they are pushing their ideas of a Utopia.

By: pswindle on 12/30/12 at 3:13

The GOP follows the money. They do do not care if it good for the people or not. The Chamber needs to keep their GOP noses out of the buisness of the Legislative Branch and let them do the right thing for the people of TN.

By: bfra on 12/31/12 at 2:46

IMO - The council as a whole, doesn't have enough common sense or logic to make any decision unless, King Karl tell them how to vote. Look at their record!

By: Ask01 on 12/31/12 at 5:08

bfra makes an excellent point.

By and large, the Metro Council is useless, not worth the money paid for whatever it is they do. They will only represent the wishes of Mayor Dean, and his friends.

The rest of the public is at their mercy since they realize voter apathy will return most for a second term, or they will run unopposed, as few wish to deal with the headaches inflicted by the overly entitled business community.

By: RustyACE on 12/31/12 at 9:33

Dear Steven,

The argument in this article is that Metro School Board has more power than the State. I think that you have missed the point. The State has already shown that it can, and will allocate funding across every county in TN, and that it has the responsibility to educate all children of TN, not just those that live in Davidson County.

The State must look at the broader picture of Choice for our Children and set up systems that benefit every child.

The Basis of the Voucher Program is to give the Parents Choice where to send their kids. Sending their kids to a Metro School that is underperforming is that parents choice, or to send them to another school that is doing better.

This sorts out the kids/parents that are concerned about education and they get to choose where they go.

This leaves behind the students and parents that care less about education and now Metro Schools can focus the most amount of attention on these students.

The School Voucher program, as originally presented by the Nashville City Paper, would give 1/2 of the amount that the state spends per student in the form of a voucher for the parent to apply to go to any school that they choose.

It seems Liberals don't like the idea of "Their" money being spent by someone who is more concerned about their child's education then they are.

The Reality is that the Conservatives are the only ones even proposing a plan that would allow Parents to have a choice.

The Parents are the ONLY ones that are TRULY concerned about the welfare of their children. No STATE, no METRO run school or system will ever care about a child the way a parent does. So now you have given control/power to the Parent.

The Argument has been made that parents will take their money and send their kids to schools that the state has no control over is an invalid argument.

This argument is: Why would I, as a parent, take my child from a wonderful public school that is performing and my child is learning, and then send him to some po-dunk religious private school. This defeats all logic on your part. If the private school isn't teaching my child, I then send them back to the public school, or any other school that I choose.

The Simple Solution Voucher Program:

You offer parents 50% of what Davidson county (or they county that they live in) is spending per child (approx $8000 per student in Davidson, so half of that would be a voucher for $4000 for students in Davidson, County). These Vouchers would be adjusted per the county that you live in, and would be available to any student who is qualified to attend a Public School in the State of TN. It doesn’t matter how poor, rich or middle class that you are, you have the option to choose the best education for your child.

This voucher would then be worth that exact amount (half of the $8000 in this example).

The parent then goes and finds the best school for their child. The voucher subtracts $4000 from the cost of the Private School (or school that the parent has chosen) and the parent takes full responsibility to get a 2nd job and earn the extra income necessary to pay the difference.

The other half of the Voucher $4000 is then sent to the LOCAL school that would have been responsible for educating that child had they actually attended their school.

So for every child that a parent moves to another school, the public school still gets half of the amount that they would have gotten anyway. Then, you have reduced class size, and more money to improve the public school. That is you have fewer students, and extra funding to teach kids that aren't attending the public school anymore.

If a public school suddenly finds itself with fewer students, then the remaining students can have more teacher time/ classroom time, and more resources with that teacher so that they can learn even more from that teacher.

The parents that have chosen to move their child now feel in control of their child's education, and you and I both know that proactive parents are what we want when it comes to educating our children.

If parents want to send their child to a school that costs $25,000 per year, then they would have to come up with the remaining $21,000 to send their child there.

If they choose to send their child to a school that costs $8000 per year, then they'll have to come up with the remaining $4000.

If they simply choose a different Metro school, then it's an even swap.

So, of the 80,000 students in Metro Davidson County Schools, let's say that 30,000 of them elect to go elsewhere.

Those that choose to go to a different public school, the money is a wash, you take $4000 voucher and hand it to a public school and they get back their $4000.

So, let's say of the 30,000 kids… 10,000 kid’s parents make the choice to send their child to a different public school. In this example, public schools don’t lose or gain anything. It’s a net wash.

This leaves 20,000 student’s parents that take their voucher along with their child and go to a (non- public) private school.

20,000 students x's $4000 = $80,000,000 (80 Million Dollars) that is going to be sent to Public Schools to TEACH ZERO Students, and $80,000,000 that is funneled to the schools that the parents choose.

What would Metro Public Schools do with an extra $80 Million Dollars to teach kids that don't exist in their schools anymore? Or, what would Metro public schools do with an infusion of $80 million dollars with the responsibility to teach fewer students?

Maybe smaller class sizes? Hire Better Teachers? Offer advanced education to make the public school better than any private school that could ever exist? You see, a funny thing happens when a public school suddenly becomes the best school, parents want their child to attend there.

This is a Win/Win/Win for the Public Schools, Parents (the children) and Private Schools.

There is NO downside to letting parents have Choice/ and a Voice with their Voucher Dollars.

So in conclusion, Metro School Board announcing that they might want to forbid the state from telling them they have to accept/use Vouchers just shows us concerned parents, who the REAL enemy to our children’s education is.

The Metro School board doesn’t teach a single child, and their interests lies in protecting the system that funds their existence. The Metro School Board has PROVEN by its actions this year that the children are the LAST item on the list of things that matter to them.

I propose that the Metro School Board be dissolved effective immediately and all funding be pulled from them and given back to the teachers to educate our children.

Sincerely,

RustyACE
Madison, TN 37115

By: Ask01 on 12/31/12 at 10:19

I second Rusty's proposal.

I further propose we disband Metro Council and draft people based on voter registration rolls to serve as representatives on the council.

Wouldn't Mayor Dean be surprised if he had to work with actual working class people instead of greedy, self serving, suck up politicians?

By: ancienthighway on 12/31/12 at 10:20

"This leaves behind the students and parents that care less about education and now Metro Schools can focus the most amount of attention on these students."

This is a major flaw in your line of thought. Private schools, whether they be parochial, charter, or any other form of privatized education will have a limited number of seats available. Those left behind aren't necessarily left behind because they don't care, but because of space. The 20,000 students you use as an example, 26% of the public school students, would be hard pressed to find seats in existing schools and any new schools that were built. There are roughly 59 private and church related schools in the Metro area.

Another flaw is in the 50% value of the vouchers. It automatically rules our low income and many middle income families for even considering using the vouchers. When you consider the addition tax burden placed on these families even if they don't participate, coming up with $4000 per child would be impossible for them.

If vouchers are fully funded, tax money that was collected from families that currently send their children to private schools would then not be available for other services. Police, fire and rescue, or any of a large list of departments, to include public schools, would receive budget cuts unless taxes increased. There's a possibility that taxes would raise anyway if vouchers are only partially funded.

Your solution is a lose for public schools, partial win (for the rich) partial loss (for the poor) for the parents, win for owners of private schools.

By: SaintWannabe on 12/31/12 at 11:25

The problem with the schools is the parent's lack of participation in the children's lives and education. I am a product of my own parents and the Metro School System and my children have never and it's highly unlikely they ever will attend a Metro School. Yes, I pray everyday something will happen to improve the system, but I have to raise my children to succeed in life. I would rather the State handle the problem than for the US Gov to get involved any further. As for the voucher system I am on the fence, because it could allow those troubled children, the ones who get no support from their parents, to get in to private schools where they will just act out and disturb the rest of the class and school environment. That's what children do when they are ignored by their parents and everyone else. You can't just hyper focus on one issue and expect to make the world a better place!! It's insane. Many of those children are in private schools because their parents care enough and sacrifice the Escalade to pay for it.

By: JeffF on 12/31/12 at 11:34

that last post by Ancienthighway contained a comment whichhas me concerned for the future of our society. The voucher system should be held back because of a possible loss of funding for public safety? Really? A full funded voucher program would not be for more than the current Metro funding level for schools.

And anyway, we lost all credibility in arguing about funding for essential city services when we put the general fund on the hook for the convention center and hotel.

By: Eye Nose & Now ... on 12/31/12 at 11:39

It be good to read all these postes from folks not mean spearited toward one
another like that bunch who postes on the debait questions City P offer at
end of each screen These folks here are nice but if you dont knows what I
talks about check out those who are on the "up for debait" section every day--- I
think with them ignance is bliss

By: ancienthighway on 12/31/12 at 12:17

JeffF, did you read the complete sentence? There is a dependent clause there, "unless taxes increased." It's basic economics. If you increase spending in one area, either new revenue is needed or other areas need to be cut. I guess there is a third option, and that's to increase the city's debt.

On thinking about it, there are two ways that vouchers could get my support. The first is if the public schools are so overcrowded that they can't handle any more students. The second is if a voucher program could be implemented that doesn't require budget cuts in other areas and doesn't require a tax increase.

In both cases there should be a limit to how many students can use vouchers in a given school year.

If the true problem is public schools are not educating to the standards desired, the focus of the state and communities should be to bring those schools up to standard. Developing a set of "elite schools" for those that can afford them or are lucky enough to get a voucher, and putting public schools under the bus can't be considered in the best interest of this society. Perhaps a better answer would be to have a set of public schools focused on college preparation and a set of public schools focused on entering the job force or trade schools.

By: Ask01 on 12/31/12 at 3:25

Being older, but not that old, I do recall when the primary concern was we graduate high school with sufficient skills to function in society and keep a job.

Going to college was a wonderful goal, and if achieved, was a lauditory accomplishment, but not mandatory to obtain a respectable job with a living wage.

One truth I have learned is not every student is college material, at least not initially. Some need a little more maturity while others just are better suited for trade or technical schools.

I believe we need a multi track educational system. Obviously, there are those students who will be fortunate to learn enough skills just to function. They have alway been with us and will continue to be part of society.

Others have natural talents which suit them to the trades, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, culinary, automotive just to name a few. All of which are perfectly honorable trades and should not require a college degree but the tutelage of a more senior tradeworker.

Then there are those who aspire to professions which do require, and rightfully so, college level training.

I believe society should tailor our schools to address these different personalities.

Expensive? At the outset, I should think so, but the benefits realized by channelling energies down paths where they can be most productive would, I think, balance out as people are better able to find and keep jobs, enhancing their self respect, and are not left with crime as their only option.

Just my opinion.